Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Take The Oath

Honor. It's a word that you don't hear much anymore, except maybe in reference to antiquated notions of chivalry or, horrifically, as an Orwellian descriptor for murder in repressive, male-dominated societies.

So I was struck, late last year, how often the word came up when I interviewed Turney Stevens, dean of Lipscomb's College of Business.

We were talking about ethics in business, which became something of an antiquated notion itself in recent years, as we have all sadly discovered.

But dishonor, greed and outright fraud is nothing new. My son wanted to watch "The Smartest Guys in the Room," the excellent documentary about the rise and fall of energy giant Enron, so we rewatched it with him recently. All of us struck by how much of what it concludes applies directly to today's financial disasters and fraud.

The more things change, as they say, the more they stay the same.

There may be a fresh breeze blowing, however, among some young people who plan corporate careers but don't want to wind up as the stars of "bad guy documentaries" in 15 or 20 years.

This NPR story about a student-proposed "MBA Hippocratic Oath" gave me some hope that "honor" won't be such a rare word in the future.


  1. I'm hoping that with as Thomas Friedman calls it, The Great Disruption, we'll come to a re-defining of success. Like maybe success will be how many jobs you create, not how many cars you drive or houses you own.

  2. I'm with you JeSais. As painful as this period of history is, there may yet be some useful reevaluation and attitude adjustment that comes out of it.

    At least we can hope, right?